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Will Soundproofing a Room Help People Hear Better?
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Will Soundproofing a Room Help People Hear Better?

Hi

This is probably an odd question but I do hope you are able to help me find an answer.  I live in a Senior Citizens community and the Board is talking about spending many thousands of dollars to soundproof our banquet room. The reason they give is that people are complaining that they have trouble hearing when the room is crowded. Our funds are very limited and this would be a financial burden to some of our residents.   Do you think spending thousands of dollars on soundproofing a room will improve the hearing of the majority of people with hearing disorders?

Thanks a lot!
1978476_tn?1327931589
Hello! This is the perfect place to ask that question! Thank you for asking this great question!
As an Audiologist, I can relate to this question. The number one complaint of hearing impaired individuals and hearing aid wearers is their inability to communicate in a noisy environment such as a crowded dining hall.
I applaud your facility for looking into this for your residents and yes it will make a big difference....here's why...
Sound travels in waves and when there are no soft surfaces to absorb those sound waves we get echos and a reverberant environment. This is not a good listening envirnoment for individuals with hearing loss and hearing aid wearers.  We hear more "naturally" when there are soft surfaces to aborb those sound waves. Things such as carpet, acoustic tile in the ceiling, draperies hanging on the windows, cushions on chairs, etc. Think "soft, plush" surfaces.
So, essentially you do not need to install a "soundproof" room but you could definitely help this reverberant environment by making some of the changes mentioned above.  You can also consider the lighting in the room because individuals with hearing loss communicate better when they can see the person they are trying to hear.
We encourage all of our patients to be aware of the environment and understand what works and what doesn't.  The last thing you want to happen is for your residents not to dine in the banguet room because they cannot communicate. This will cause them to start withdrawing and can lead to other health concerns such as depression, anxiety, isolation, paranoia, etc.
I hope this information is helpful for you.  This was a great question!

Thank you,
Rachele M. Orsini, Au.D.
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